Victor Wanyama is a man at the centre of attention.
Let's break down his game in the wake of Celtic's unfortunate 3-0 loss to the Old Lady.
Wanyama is a powerful holding midfielder, but he doesn't abuse his bulk.
He turns out for a Bhoys side that control almost every game they play in the Scottish Premier League, so it's not a surprise to see him develop the reserved, opportunistic side to his game—why run around like Etienne Capoue when it's simply not necessary?
He senses danger very early and that's down to two things—understanding the game and a superb positional sense.
Celtic pinned Juventus back for the large majority of the first half on Tuesday night, and as a result, Wanyama played as a lone holding midfielder.
Full-backs Mikael Lustig and Emilio Izaguirre pushed on and helped their side with the territorial battle, so Wanyama found space easily. His starting position was deep, but he nearly always had 10 yards of green grass to run into, if needed.
Much of the Celtic vs. Juventus prematch focus was on how to stop Andrea Pirlo. Scott Brown did a pretty decent job of shackling the Italian—much like Mario Mandzukic did at Euro 2012—and that was what locked the Bianconeri in their own half.
The nullification was not up to Wanyama, but he was still on alert in case Pirlo turned Brown and tried to initiate an attack.
Here, he slides in on the regista within seconds of Juventus believing they're on the way forward.
This role we saw him in was what Celtic fans see every week. Capable of breaking up play but not sensing the need to. Bhoys fans are also used to seeing him crack off the odd super strike and represent a serious threat from set pieces.
When Celtic played Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League Group Stages, la Blaugrana finished the game with 89 percent of possession and a total of 955 passes completed.
Barcelona's Stats against Celtic: 89% Possession !!! #fcblive #ucl (Image Via @101greatgoals ) http://t.co/Mfguz7Um11/7/2012, 11:57:31 PM
Watching the game back, it was clear the amount of patience and restraint Wanyama and co. had to exercise to stop themselves diving in.
It's encouraging to see a reserved holding midfielder that is used to recycling the ball and offering an option if necessary able to transform his tendencies in the face of an elite opponent.
The Scottish champions played with a stout 4-5-1 formation when they faced Tito Vilanova's charges, and the Kenyan showed leadership and positional excellence when keeping his midfield line together.
He wasn't drawn out, and he rarely left holes despite clearly wanting to stick his boot in.
Wanyama, as we know, is a very good footballer.
He doesn't show it often, so we can't be sure, but it appears he has the athleticism and ability to surge forward Yaya Toure-style, if need be.
What we do know is that he reads the game exceptionally well, has great burst, tonnes of upper body strength and a calmness on the ball.
Things to work on? Concentrating when passing. At times he commits the cardinal sin of telegraphing his intended pass but then playing it anyway—easy interceptions for the opposition.
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